50. Cole Nelson – Left-handed Pitcher
Nelson generated a lot of buzz last fall when he was sitting 91-93 mph and touching 95 at times after some minor mechanical tweaks by the Tigers staff. That buzz has fallen off a bit this year despite him still showing consistent low-90s velocity, as he has struggled to throw strikes and more scouts believe he is destined for the bullpen down the road.
49. Daniel Carranza – Outfielder
Carranza remains one of the premium athletes in the Tigers minor league system, but it is proving to be a long and arduous path to turning that athleticism to baseball skills and results. Carranza flashes average or better power, speed, and throwing, but his baseball instincts in the batter's box and in the field are both lagging way behind.
48. Antonio Cruz – Left-handed Pitcher
Cruz is a testament to the developmental process, as he was signed as a soft-tossing Dominican lefty with a quick arm that the Tigers were able to cultivate into a lefty capable of hitting 94 mph in short stints. He sits at 89-91 as a starter and shows a devastating curveball that could be a true plus pitch down the line.
47. Melvin Mercedes – Right-handed Pitcher
The 2010 season was a lost cause for Mercedes as he missed nearly the entire campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He came back quickly from surgery and was ready to work out of the Connecticut bullpen when their season opened in late June. There is still some inconsistency, but the power fastball-slider combo is still there and that keeps him on the radar as a serious bullpen prospect.
46. Jamie Johnson – Outfielder
The Tigers didn't waste any time pushing Johnson through the system. After a solid full-season debut with West Michigan in 2010, Johnson was thrust into the rigors of Double-A this season and he has handled himself quite well. He can hit some, commands the strike zone very well, can defend at all three outfield spots, and he runs very well. He's a gritty fourth-outfielder type but that future is looking more and more like a reality.
45. Ryan Robowski – Left-handed Pitcher
Robowski was the second, less-heralded piece the Tigers received in exchange for Armando Galarraga, coming over from the Diamondbacks along with right-hander Kevin Eichhorn. Robowski draws consistent situational left-hander reports from scouts and many believe he could be a solid relief option for an extended period with his above-average fastball and solid breaking ball.
44. Gabriel Purroy – Catcher
It often seems like Tiger fans have been waiting on Purroy forever, but he remains young and talented, and many scouts still believe in his ultimate potential. He is a defense first backstop that has good catch-and-throw skills and good leadership, to go along with some pop in his bat. He still may take some time, but catchers with his profile can be worth waiting for.
43. Endrys Briceno – Right-handed Pitcher
Briceno is one of the Tigers young arms to keep an eye on in the GCL this summer. He's been tabbed as having a "special" arm over the last two years by people both in and out of the Tigers organization. He's still far more a thrower than a pitcher, but when a youngster like this can dial it up into the mid-90s at times, you have to take notice.
42. Mark Sorensen – Right-handed Pitcher
There isn't a lot of flash in Sorensen's game as he's a sinker-slider guy that works in the 88-91 mph range with his two-seam fastball and will touch 92 mph with his four-seamer at times. Despite the lack of flash, he still profiles as a big leaguer arm with mid-relief potential and some scouts see a ceiling as a seventh inning guy.
41. Curt Casali – Catcher
Casali is the first of several recent draft picks to make an appearance in these mid-season rankings. The field general for an outstanding Vanderbilt team this year, Casali is considered a potential plus defender and plus-plus makeup guy on the field. His offense isn't going to blow anyone away, but he can make contact and has some gap power in his stick.